No normal ties with Iran without recognition of Israel, says German economy minister

Ahead of a visit to Iran, the German economy minister – the first among Western leaders to secure business deals with Tehran after the signing of the Iran nuclear deal – said there can be no normal ties with Tehran unless it accepts the existence of the Jewish state. 

German Vice-Chancellor and Economy Minister Sigmar Gabriel, scheduled to visit Iran next week, told Der Spiegel magazine the Islamic Republic must accept the right of Israel to exist if it wants to have friendly relations with his country.

His statement echoes previous comments by Chancellor Angela Merkel. Several weeks ago, in a letter to German parliamentarian Volker Beck, head of the German-Israeli Parliamentary Friendship Group, Merkel wrote that “there cannot be normalized, complete relations with Iran so long as Iran does not recognize Israel’s right to exist.”

“At the same time, the federal government has an interest in dialogue with Iran’s government over critical topics,” she added in the letter – written in response to a July parliamentary inquiry – which also condemned the Islamic regime’s “rocket tests and anti-Israel threats.”

Gabriel and German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier were seeking to invite Iranian President Hassan Rouhani to Berlin later this year, according to a recent report in the German newspaper Bild-Zeitung.

In May 2015, during a meeting with Israeli President Reuven Rivlin in Germany, Merkel expressed doubt that an agreement between the P5+1 and Iran would be ratified. The nuclear deal with Iran was signed two months later.

Gabriel was the first Western leader to secure business deals with Iran after the signing of the nuclear agreement, when he visited Tehran that same month.

By: World Israel News Staff